Mystery Dinner – youth group Christmas Party

Our youth group Christmas party was a Mystery Dinner and was so much fun!

This is the second one I have done, but I had no records of my first one so I decided to record everything and make printables so that future Mystery Dinners will be easier. The order form and our coded menu names are available as a pdf printable at the end of this post.

Our Mystery Dinner was a 4 course event. Each course included 4 items. Once our menu had been established (and it was kept top secret from the kids) I code named each of our 16 menu items. Here is what we ended up with (below). The kids saw the menu with a silly little description under each item (above). I stuck with a Christmas song theme.

  1. Gone Away is the Blue Bird – garlic bread
  2. Pa Rum Pum Pum – brownie
  3. Christmas Cheer – juice
  4. Chestnuts Roasting Over an Open Fire – bacon bits
  5. Maids a Milking – ice cream
  6. My Two Front Teeth – marshmallows
  7. Silver Lanes Aglow – fork
  8. One Horse Open Sleigh – spoon
  9. O Christmas Tree – napkin
  10. Sleigh Bells Jingle-ing – croutons
  11. Let it Snow – parmesan cheese
  12. Red Nosed Reindeer – cherry
  13. Holly Jolly – hot chocolate
  14. Eyes Made out of Coal – meatballs
  15. Partridge in a Pear Tree – salad with dressing
  16. Asleep on the Hay – spaghetti 

The kids were given order forms to fill out for each course. Using the coded menu they had to decide which four items they wanted to appear together in each of the four courses. This is where the hilarity of it comes out – you could end up with your first course being a fork, a spoon, a napkin and croutons. Another course could be spaghetti, ice cream, bacon bits, and marshmallows – random combinations and no utensils to eat with.

We gave everyone a cup, straw and pitchers of water and those were the only things they were allowed to have through the entire dinner. We gave them about 10 minutes per course and then rang a silver bell and cleared off everything – forks were not allowed to be saved for future courses {and a few tried.}

We had 24 young people and 7 adults serving. It was a great ratio to help keep things flowing efficiently.

I did not get a picture of the kitchen, but here is how the Mystery Dinner was organized from the kitchen perspective ::

I placed a narrow table down the middle of the kitchen and large trays were placed on the table. The menus were then placed on the trays and the food that was needed for each young person for the current course was placed on top of their menu. It was easy to load the trays with the needed food and then to distribute the food to the correct person once we were at the table.


The kitchen we were working in had two long counter tops and two fridges and one big sink area. I created 16 stations and numbered them in sequence – one for each of the items on the menu – in fact the order of the menu itself was based off of where the food would be in the kitchen. I highly recommend this for efficiency and flow.

For instance, the ice cream was number 5 because the freezer was right where station number 5 fit and the salad was number 15 as it needed to be in the fridge and station number 15 lined up where the second fridge was.

With the trays and the order forms in the middle of the kitchen and the food in sequential order it was easy to look at the order form and grab a 1, 6, 8, and 11 quickly.

Everything we used was disposable and we tossed everything in a nearby trash can after each course.

After dinner we had a fun game of Left Right for our gift exchange and then shared things we are thankful for. 

Mystery Dinner Order form PDF Printable

Four course dinner with instructions on the bottom

Four course dinner plus two unnumbered order forms

Mystery dinner coded menu

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Jessica Lynette

6 Comments

  1. This is something that I think kids and adults of any age would have fun with! I see a few of these dinners in my future – great for a sleepover with friends or just to make a family dinner into a special family date as well as for bigger groups. Thanks for sharing!

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